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RISMEDIA, December 22, 2009—That is a phrase that stirs deep emotions. The very idea of spending the most precious time of the year in a warm safe place surrounded by friends and family is the very essence of the perfect Christmas.

People will travel half way around the world to be with the people who matter most to them.

That is what I wish for you and your family, and it tears at my heart that for one reason or another more than a few of us will not have a perfect Christmas. As we gather with our loved ones, let us keep those less fortunate in our thoughts and prayers.

After two prolonged wars, the collapse of the faux economy, and too much scandal to keep track of, there’s plenty for us to be anxious about.

In looking for someone to blame, many people have been led to believe that American families are responsible for their own problems. But, that line of thinking has been carefully crafted to divide us against each other and ignore the fact that we are just the butcher’s bill for the fall-out from derivative leveraging.

To understand how the money went looking for consumers who couldn’t pay it back and why that is so profitable, see my blog at:

I mention how the blame has been deflected unto the middle class because so many of the comments to articles about loan modification and foreclosure I read are, shall we say, uncompassionate. Or, the guilty rantings of someone not yet touched by the looting of the economy. This isn’t just any Christmas; it is one following a year in which an extraordinary number of people had their hopes and dreams crushed.

And, it comes at a time when our communities’ resources to help the less fortunate are being slashed due to local and state budget shortfalls.

What can we do? Work on our gratitude and our charity.

Let’s remember our brave young men and women in the armed forces stationed around the world placing themselves in harms way in service to their homeland.

May our gratitude and our prayers bring you safely home to raise your families in homes of your own. But, they are not immune to predatory lending and many of the statistics represent military families.

And, for the families of those who are away doing their duty, they will feel the absence of their loved ones like no other time of the year.

While able to spend part of the holidays with their families, our emergency responders will be at work just as though Christmas was any other Friday.

Many other workers will be on duty including, but not limited to, lowly paid security guards who are the ground level eyes and ears of security, protection, and law enforcement; doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel; utilities and maintenance workers, and more. We should take a moment to respect and be grateful for what they do.

And then, there are those who are altogether homeless. Some have chronic issues, but the majority are simply victims of the economy, an illness, or an accident. The average age of a homeless person is nine.

There was a time, not that long ago, when we needed each other. Neighbors may have been a significant distance away, and yet, we were closer as people than we are today. We have become conditioned, indifferent, and judgmental of each other in a way that is very un-Christmas.

A hundred years ago, America was feeling the hangover from the investment boom associated with the construction of a cross national railroad and the building of factories. The workers who came to the cities were no longer needed and the economy contracted.

William Sydney Porter was a short story writer of the era. Under the pen name “O. Henry”, he wrote a tale that demonstrates what the essence of real giving is.

The Gift of the Magi was written in 1906.

A young couple, Della and Jim, have been impacted by a downturn in the economy, (sound familiar?). With Christmas the next day, neither has money for a gift for the other.

Each, has a treasure that they prize above all else; Della, her knee length hair, and Jim, a pocket watch given to him by his father.

Jim returns home on Christmas Eve to a hairless Della holding a platinum chain for his watch. Surprise! Jim sold the watch to buy Della a set of tortoise shell combs for her now departed hair.

It isn’t what you get, it’s what you give. And, I’m not talking about fancy wrapped presents or money, I’m talking about really giving, starting with a grateful and charitable attitude. If you are home for the holidays, you have much for which to be grateful.

George W. Mantor is known as “The Real Estate Professor” for his consumer education efforts including a long-running radio program, monthly workshop series, public appearances, and frequent articles.

During a career dating back to 1978, he has amassed experience in new home and resale residential real estate, resort marketing and commercial and investment property.

Prior to starting his own real estate and mortgage brokerage in 1992, he had been Director of Training and Customer Service for Great Western Real Estate. In addition, he has served on virtually every real estate committee, including a term as a Director of the California Association of REALTORS.

George is a nationally respected authority on all areas of real estate and is frequently quoted in a wide range of publications. He is an oft invited guest of Fox Business Network and for many years, he was the host of “Keepin’ It Real…Real talk about the real thing, real estate” on KCEO radio.

The Real Estate Professional includes him in “a directory of the Nation’s outstanding authors, columnists, and speakers. His articles have also recently appeared in Real Estate Finance, The Real Estate Professional, National Real Estate Investor, Broker Agent News, and Realty Times. His blog is